Monday, December 12, 2016

The Hollow Crown and Trump's America

I guess we're all in the same boat these days, except for those who voted for him - waiting, with revulsion and disbelief, for the next outrage to hit the headlines. Will we grow tired of being outraged and just not notice any more? I wonder about the young idealists, how are they coping with the horror of this man and his heedless, conscienceless, moral-free ways, will they give up on us? I wake in the night and think about that. About the fact that the election showed, though deep down we all knew, that human beings are violent, cruel, narrow-minded, irrational, vindictive, deadly. As the hero of the new Harry Potter movie says when he arrives in New York, paraphrased: Here I am, surrounded by millions of the most destructive animal on earth - man.

However. There is goodness and kindness too, even as winter descends and encases us all in snow and ice. There is shovelling; I shovel sometimes for my neighbour and he shovels for me. Great journalists continue their vital work; the Toronto Star is leading a campaign for greater road safety including reduced speed limits, yes! This morning, I sat drinking my coffee looking out at the snowscape of the garden, and there at the feeder, surrounded by sparrows and finches, was a cardinal, cherry red, a welcome flash of colour in the white and grey landscape. How much joy they bring, the birds at the feeder, as they chatter and peck.

Saturday I spent with Eli while his mother took care of his baby brother who was sick. I have to up my game, though; he wants to play soccer almost all the time, while I want to sit and read books. We found a compromise - after reading a book about exotic animals, I Googled some of them and we read and watched videos online. Aardvarks, what an amazing armoured beast. Anteaters. So much to learn!

Speaking of armour, on Sunday night I watched The Hollow Crown, BBC's stunning streamlined Shakespeare, last night a version of Henry VI, with two more to come on subsequent Sundays including Benedict Cumberbatch as Richard III, be still my beating heart. A starry cast, of course, including the Earl of Grantham, Downton's Hugh Bonneville, as the hapless, honest, doomed Gloucester. I confess I could hardly watch, it was so violent - I turned the sound or even the picture off several times. Could not watch Joan being burned and the various bloody battles. Almost everyone in the story is horrible, venal, plotting, conscienceless, greedy. Which brings me right back to where I started - Trumpland, Britain in the 1400's - not that different. Man.

Here's a cogent explanation of how we got to this dismal pass: neoliberalism. Worth your time.

Before that, I watched a colourized version of the Dick Van Dyke Show from the Sixties. Such good writing, acting, production - what a treat for now, since I didn't watch it back then. Almost everyone involved, I could not help but notice, except the two stars, was Jewish. Way to go, chosen people. This year, Hanukah and Christmas come at almost the same time; I'll be lighting the menorah as we sing Silent Night. You can never have too many religions up your sleeve.


  1. I used to love the history plays and somehow took the violence in context. But the older I get, the less I'm able to sit still while someone is stuck through with a sword, no matter how beautiful the speech justifying it.
    And south of the border? Oh man. I keep thinking it can't get worse and yet...
    So yes, look up armadillos and bears (there's a wonderful abecadarius called -- appropriately? -- A Peaceable Kingdom, a Shaker rhyme illustrated by the Provensens. Your grandson would love it, I bet. And there's lots to look up!

  2. Oh the Provensens, my heroes, how their artwork pervaded my childhood. My mother would play from one of their songbooks, Lili Marlene and Tom Dooley and other faves, and now I own it.
    And yes, the violence in the film is pretty graphic. I can't watch any violence, which is why I have to turn off the news now a lot of the time. Good to think of you communing with your peaceful wrens, who are not being hunted in B.C.